Perfect day welcomes new library
In an auspicious start, a shooting star and a perfectly still winter morning graced the long-awaited opening of the new library in Oneroa on Saturday.
A handsome building designed by Auckland-based architects Pacific Environments, Waiheke Pātaka Kōrero was blessed at a powerful dawn ceremony led by Ngati Paoa kaumatua WilsonMorehu with George Kahi, Otene Reweti,Waiheke High School teacher Pita Mahaki and Maikara Ropata, the granddaughter of the late kaumatua Kato Kauwhata.
The event also coincided with the end of Matariki.
Around 100 members of the public made the early start, following the leaders up to the site of the former Anglican Church, where the three carved pou were unveiled and a commanding view of the top of Coromandel revealed.
A collaboration between Ngati Paoa, Piritahi Marae and Waiheke High School, the beautiful totara carvings encompass the ideas of tika, pono and aroha or past, present and future and were designed by Chris Bailey, Pita Mahaki and Lucas Thompson, with a large number of carvers contributing.
The group were then led back around the perimeter of the building and into its interior to bless the space, accompanied by karakia and waiata.
The 10am ceremony was attended by Mayor Len Brown, Waitemata Gulf councillor Mike Lee, Cr George Wood, Waiheke Local Board chair Paul Walden and manager of Auckland Libraries Allison Dobbie, as well as hundreds of islanders all keen to explore their new library.
After a confident introduction in Te Reo, Mayor Brown joked that “like the ad for Mainland Cheese, good things take time”.
He said investments in libraries was all part of Auckland Council’s policy of “building strong communities”, emphasising the 54 libraries in the region, which between them have something like 15 million items, and “a world of information”.
“We don’t believe in shutting down libraries in Auckland. In fact we keep opening new ones.”
The Waiheke Library will be followed in coming months by other new libraries to open across Auckland, in areas including Devonport, Te Atatu Peninsula, Otahuhu and Ranui.
Running through the sustainable design features of the building, which has a pohutukawa tree motif inside, the mayor acknowledged the contributions of glass artist Lorna Rikihana, island-based artist Kazu Nakagawa, the late sculptor Bob Stewart as well as architects Phil Howard and Anthony Gibbs and contractor Gibson O’Connor, who picked up the job after former contractor Mainzeal collapsed early last year.
The mayor unveiled a commemoration plaque with three children from the Have family, whose lives have run alongside the project’s long gestation at Auckland Council.
Waiheke Local Board chair Paul Walden said the Waiheke community has been looking forward to the opening for a long time and paid tribute to the efforts of former local politicians who had worked hard to keep the vision alive.
“Special thanks to everyone that contributed to this project, from the locals that provided input into the consultation and design process, to the Waiheke library staff.
“This building is the fruit of generations of advocacy from community leaders seeking an inspiring inclusive library space that we can all be proud of.”
After the formalities, the mayor encouraged excited children to lead the way through the doors and people streamed into the light, airy new space, notable for its sunny northerly aspect and sliding doors opening out to a landscaped amphitheatre.
Children immediately headed for the ‘treehouse’, a crow’s nest atop a spiral staircase and comments about the building’s “nice feel”, pleasing colour scheme and attractive design features were everywhere.
One man who admitted he wasn’t much of a library user, said he would now be tempted to come more often to enjoy the lovely new space.
Four times the size of the old space, which is now awaiting its future purpose, the new library has vastly improved internet facilities, designated areas for study, children and teenagers and a substantial number of new books, DVDs and games. It will now be open on weekdays until 6pm and on Saturdays and Sundays until 4pm. • Julianne Evans
A dairy-man’s diary – Greg Davenport on island diversity
Whether teaching maths or delivering milk, as shop owner and councillor, real estate agent or Rotary president, Greg Davenport has certainly mined the island’s diversity – but he hasn’t tired of what it offers.
Each of the jobs he’s had here has revealed a different aspect of island life – one that might have otherwise remained unseen. It is, he reckons, more like a series of intersecting circles than one cohesive community.
“People talk about Waiheke society but really it’s a whole raft of societies that brush past each other at certain times or over particular issues. It’s fascinating for that. That’s why we stay here – the scenery is nice, too. But really we’re here for the people.
“The marina issue is just another facet of that – people on different sides of the fence staunchly defending themselves. There’s always a row and always people who are passionate about the row. I find the island fascinating.”
His family first arrived here in 1976. Both he and wife Nancy had teaching jobs. During his 22 years of doing the island’s milk run, he’s bumped into a few residents to whom he once taught maths at what was then Waiheke Area School.
Deluge brings floods, slips and road closures
Sports fields turned to lakes, paths became streams and slips closed roads as the island was deluged with close to 130mm of rain last weekend.
Residents in Awaawaroa Valley were trapped as floodwaters poured over the access road, swamping a tour bus and causing several slips and washouts. There was also a major slip on Man O’ War Bay road and traffic came to a standstill on Trig Hill Road as a local contractor worked to clear a slip there late on Saturday morning.
An 88mm dump on Saturday on top of 36mm the previous night proved too much for the island’s already saturated soil to absorb and residents in some areas were out with spades clearing culverts to prevent flooding over properties on the lower side of the road.
Fire Chief and Auckland Transport supervisor Ron Leonard said that apart from slips, the severe weather had taken its toll of road surfaces with scouring damage and potholes appearing everywhere.
“Awaawaroa Road needs a lot of work and Orapiu Road also has some bad failures that need repair.”
Downers has been asked to provide quotes for storm damage repair, he said.
New book recalls pioneering days on Great Barrier
For a family that had just spent three months sailing from Britain to Auckland, the hop across the water to Great Barrier Island back in the 1860s probably didn’t look too daunting – but the island was to prove a graveyard of broken business dreams for the pioneering Allom family.
A century and a half later, an account of their hopes and frustrations is detailed in a new book by Albert Allom’s great grandson Barrie Allom.